A while back, a sitter of mine texted me an adorable picture of my son while I was out at a meeting, which I greatly appreciated. I noticed the picture was posted from Instagram and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I post pictures of my kids on Facebook all the time, but knowing someone else can easily share my children with the social media world, especially without my permission, is a bit unsettling. Who are the sitter’s followers? Is she giving out his personal information, such as his name and age? Who thought along with bedtime instructions, I would have to mention refraining from posting pictures on social media.
Recently a girlfriend of mine reached out to me because something similar happened to her, and she wasn’t sure how to handle it. We talked about how it is very necessary to bring up the topic of taking and posting pictures with those who are watching our precious children. To them, especially if they were born in the 90′s, cell phones and social media are a huge part of their life. To us, the parents, this technology is something we did not grow up with and survived without. I told my girlfriend that if this topic was something of concern to her, especially if there was already an incident, she needs to let her sitter know how she feels right away.
I would think that caretakers would know to ask a parent’s permission before posting a picture of a child they are watching, but it often doesn’t come up until it’s too late. I did actually have one babysitter who asked me if it was okay, which was very impressive, although not surprising, since she is so responsible and always thinks ahead. Unfortunately, not all sitters think this way. These are the times we are living in and social media can be a scary place when it comes to our children. I posted a picture of my boys on their first day of school and it ended up getting re-posted by a total stranger living in India with the caption, “Oh how I miss school”. I was puzzled, upset and frightened to learn this. It was eventually taken down from her account but it makes me wonder how strangers have access to something so personal and if it’s so personal, why do we feel it’s acceptable to share it with our “friends” on the internet?
Here are some tips to start the conversation with your child’s caretaker:
We cannot assume that all babysitters understand the dangers of social media. Parents, we need to bring up this subject matter during our interviewing and hiring process. We need to keep up with the times and also have a conversation with our current sitters who we have known and trusted for years.
At the end of the day, we want our children to be safe and there are times we can’t always be there to ensure that happens. The technology available to us today is pretty amazing but it also has its’ dangers. Communication is key, and when it comes to someone else watching your child, it’s important to share your feelings about a particular topic that may be causing you stress and concern. Remember that this is your child which means your rules.
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